By Rebecca Lewis @RebeccaSLewis

A CHILDLESS man has become a viral sensation after taking his enormous pet tortoise for a WALK

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Videographer / Director: Bulls Press
Producer: Rebecca Lewis, Chloe Browne
Editor: Sonia Estal

Attention seeker! The pair get stopped for pictures whenever they are out

When Japanese funeral director Mitani Hisao, 62, spotted a five-centimetre baby tortoise in a pet shop in Tokyo, he knew the animal would become his best friend.

My best friend: Mitani walks with his pet and surrogate son in the Tokyo suburbs

But 19 years later the tortoise, named Bon-chan, has grown dramatically - his shell is now 2 foot 5 inches (75cm) in diameter.

Following the leader: The walks can talk up to two hours at the tortoise's pace

The unlikely pair attract attention wherever they go on their two hour outings around the city dressed in their homemade outfits.

Look how you've grown! Bon-chan was just five centimetres wide when Mitani bought him

Mitani said: “I never had any children, but 19 years ago my wife caught the eyes of this little tortoise and felt an instant bond with him. I couldn’t leave the store without it.

But now he is 75-centimetres and weighs 70kg

“But we had no idea he would become this big.”

And despite his lack of offspring, Mitani is happy to refer to the 70kg creature as his son.

Patience of a saint: Mitani waits or Bon-chan to make his way around their route

He added: “Bon-chan is the only one in my family that listens to me, so I confide in him all the time. I just say his name and he walks over to me.

“He knows all my dirty secrets - if he could talk I would be in trouble.”

And Bon-chan even allows friendly kids to ride on his tough shell

Over the years the pair have bonded and now Mitani cherishes the long and relaxing walks – despite the attention it brings.

Unusual: Mitani, who is childless, says he tells the creature his deepest secrets

The pair wear matching homemade outfits prepared by their neighbour to protect Bon-chan - an African spurred tortoise - from the cold in the winter months.

Hurry up! Mitani waits for the 19-year-old to catch up

Mitani said: “I get a lot of compliments because of the outfits.

Proud father: Bon-chan is like a son to Mitani and delights visitors as the funeral home

“The purse I am carrying is for carrots, some cabbage, and plastic bags to pick up his poop and a water bottle to wash away his urine from the pavement. 

Home sweet home: Bon-chan has lived with Mitani and his wife for 19 years

“I’m pretty patient, but Bon-chan is actually not that slow. I take him out for walks two to three times a week, he loves these walks, he has a set route that takes us around 1.5 hours.

The African spurred tortoise is a long way from home - but has many fans in Tokyo

“Bon-chan knows the route by heart and is very strong-minded, so it is more me that follows him, than the other way around. We walk the neighbourhood and we are pretty famous around here.

Unusual sight: A dog in the distance barks at the unlikely pair

“If there is a cute girl passing us, he will start following the girl.”

Mitani keeps food and drink in the homemade bag should Bon-chan get hungry

The unusual pet is a welcome addition to Mitani’s business – a funeral home.

He said: “When people come to me, they are sad. But seeing Bon-chan brings a smile to their face. I’m proud my son has that effect on people.”